Bernie Sanders Supports LeBron James’ Call for NCAA to Pay Its Players

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read

Last week, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James offered his strong support for a California Assembly bill that would require colleges to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness.

One 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who echoed the comments by James was Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT).

Known officially as SB 206, the Fair Pay to Play Act is directed at private colleges in the state as well as schools within the University of California system. Specifically, the bill targets those programs that earn $10 million or more in media revenue each year.

The schools that will most likely be affected are those within the Pac-12 Conference, primarily due to the number of televised football and basketball games that are shown each year. Such media revenue is derived from rights fees that are distributed from over-the-air networks, cable entities and the conference’s own regional sports network.

Four months ago, a favorable vote of 31-4 by the state Senate allowed the bill to move forward to the Assembly on Monday night. In a resounding vote, just days after James’ plea, the bill passed unanimously by a 72-0 vote. The state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, will now have the option of signing the bill into law or vetoing the bill, which would go into affect in 2023.

Even if Newsom does sign the bill, it’s almost assured that the NCAA will go to court to overturn the law. That could end up delaying its implementation, even if the expected lawsuit fails.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.